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Nonvolatile Micromechanical Memory Cell

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000105246D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-19
Document File: 2 page(s) / 62K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Bayer, T: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

The device consists of a very small cantilever with an integrated tip which can be switched between different stable positions. The different stable positions are established either by electrostatic or adhesion forces. The write operation is performed by electrostatically switching the cantilever from one stable position into the other, thereby opening or closing the contact between a small tip and an electrode and changing the capacitance.

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Nonvolatile Micromechanical Memory Cell

      The device consists of a very small cantilever with an
integrated tip which can be switched between different stable
positions.  The different stable positions are established either by
electrostatic or adhesion forces.  The write operation is performed
by electrostatically switching the cantilever from one stable
position into the other, thereby opening or closing the contact
between a small tip and an electrode and changing the capacitance.

      Fig. 1 shows a schematic of the basic idea of the memory cell.
A cantilever with a small integrated tip (or an accordingly shaped
cantilever) is positioned close to two electrodes.  The two stable
states (Figs. 1A, B) are established by applying a constant DC
voltage D sub 2 between electrode 2 and the cantilever.  The
cantilever will remain in position 1A as long as the electrostatic
force gradient remains below the spring constant of the cantilever.
In order to flip the cantilever to position 1B, a short additional
voltage pulse is applied (Fig. 1C).  Since the distance between
cantilever and electrode 2 is now reduced, this position is again
stable as long as the electrostatic force gradient exceeds the spring
constant.  The back flipping of the cantilever is achieved by
lowering the voltage for a short moment by a negative pulse.

      In addition to the electrostatic force a small adhesion force
between tip and sample has to be considered.  Instead of using t...